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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Encouraging Writing with a Secret PenPal

 When we returned to school after St. Patrick's Day, we found a note from a leprechaun name Patrick that had visited our classroom.  In addition to leaving us Magic Juice that turned teachers' feet green, Patrick left a magic notebook for each of the kids.  Patrick's note said that we could draw or write anything we wanted in our notebook and that Patrick would stop by to read our notebooks and leave us notes.  The kids were so excited to draw pictures and write notes to Patrick.
Norah originally drew a picture of a girl.  Patrick added shamrocks to the bottom of the dress and asked if Norah liked it.  Norah wrote "Yes" and then Patrick added more details.

The kids really enjoyed writing to Patrick.  I learned a few things right away.  After just one or two days, we realized that Patrick should have a special "mailbox" where we put our notebooks after we wrote in them.  After the initial novelty wore off, some days lots of people wrote to Patrick and other days he didn't have any notebooks to read (but he didn't want to check through 20 notebooks each day:).

We also added an ABC line so the kids could easily find their notebook (we have been having lots of fun working on putting things in alphabetical order.)
Next year I will remind them that books start on the first page.  Patrick spent a lot of time looking through notebooks for a page that might have been added in the middle. I think I will also give them a date stamp or put the date on our white board during calendar time (i.e. Today is 4-3-13).
At the end of the year, Patrick wrote a note to each of the children suggesting that they could write to him at the school and we would make sure he got the letter.  We've only been out of school for 3 days and he has already received a letter. Love it!


  1. That's such a sweet idea to get your little ones thinking about the fun and useful things we do with literacy.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. I love when my little ones start feeling confidence in their ability to communicate with words and drawings.

  2. I am in awe and inspired by the creativity of teachers like Tammy and YOU! Thanks for sharing this fun idea, Patrick, um, I mean Mrs. Goff.


  3. What a great idea! I can just imagine how excited the kids were to write to Patrick and then receive a message back. Thanks for sharing!
    Connie Anderson:)


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